Ken Burns’ most recent documentary offers an in-depth look at the history of country music.
Whether or not you are a fan of the genre, music and pop culture fans can always recognize the importance of country singers like Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, and Garth Brooks. These country icons and many more helped launch and shape the genre into what it is today and its unique place in American culture. It is this theme and this exploration of the history of the genre that is at the center of Ken Burns’ new documentary “Country Music”.
Burns’ new film premieres on PBS on September 15 as an eight-part series. With 16 hours of footage, the series will cover different stories, from the journey of country music in the 20th century to songs by some of its most influential stars.
And, while country music is perhaps more synonymous with states like Tennessee and Texas, Washington still holds a place in country music history with stars like Loretta Lynn. Lynn, originally from Kentucky, who moved to Custer, Washington, where she began her music career. Although her songs are generally banned from the radio, they have been successful among fans due to her open and outspoken nature.
With ties to Washington, Burns and PBS decided to host a special “Country Music” premiere at the University of Washington. After the premiere, attendees will hear a special panel discussion from director and producer of the film, Burns, and Emmy-winning producer Julie Dunfey. The panel will be moderated by Billy Joe Huels of the Dusty 45s, who will perform after the panel.
The screening will take place on July 22 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Katharyn Alvord Gerlich Theater.